Numerous studies have shown the impact and benefit of animal-assisted interventions in schools. By introducing animals in to schools, a range of moral, spiritual and educational benefits for the child can be observed.
Pets in schools have been found to:
- Motivate pupils to learn and think
- Encourage respect for life
- Foster a sense of empathy and responsibility in children
- Teach children how to nurture, care for and love all life
- Lead to the development of hobbies and potential careers in animal care
- Improve academic achievement
Over the last few years, we have developed our courtyard to create a sensory garden area to house a small flock of hens and a family of guinea pigs.
Students support with the maintenance of the vegetable garden and animals, including daily egg collections, so our produce can be used in catering lessons.
Our guinea pigs are regularly brought into therapeutic sessions in our Wellbeing Zone and into the library during student reading sessions. Students identify that this intervention is both calming and helps them focus and engage more successfully, particularly if they are feeling anxious.
Our animal therapy offer also includes Basil, our ‘therapy dog’. Basil is a cocker spaniel, and has become a key member of our inclusion team! Students have allocated time, with a member of staff where they can spend time walking, grooming and reading to Basil, as a key part of their therapeutic intervention.